23 SES 01 B, Policies and Practices of Inclusion in Global Setting 1
The concept of space is gaining an increased attention in studies of sexuality, not least those focusing on heterosexism and heteronormativity (Binnie & Valentine, 1999; Hubbard, 2001; Oswin, 2008). Among other sources, these studies draw upon concepts borrowed from cultural/critical geography (Binnie & Valentine, 1999; Hubbard, 2001). All these studies have demonstrated that space is both sexed or sexualized and actively produced by the discourse of heterosexuality (Oswin, 2008). Most scholars who have studied the interconnection of space and sexuality have built their notion of actively produced space on queer or feminist theory, which, for example, rejects essentialism, arguing that just as individual persons do not have pre-existing sexual identities; neither do spaces (Hubbard, 2001; Oswin, 2008). According to them, space, both public and private, is not naturally “straight”, but a heterosexualized production.
This view on space puts emphasis on space as a process; space is, then, something that changes through and by the discourse (Bourdieu, 1993; Foucault, 1971). Individuals inhabiting a particular space at a specific moment influence it with their actions and bodies. They also embody the space they occupy, and in accordance to its subtle and overt rules, they change their behavior, actions and appearances.
Our study is rooted in queer theory and the concept of institutional heterosexism plays an important role (e.g., Atkinson & DePalma, 2010; Chesir-Teran & Hughes, 2009; Jagose, 1996). We use the definition on heterosexism from the US scholar Suzanne Pharr (1997). She has has defined four aspects of heterosexism: a) heterosexual values are taken for granted; b) privilege and power of heterosexuals is assumed to be the norm; c) heterosexism is the systematic display of homophobia in the institutions of society; d) compulsory heterosexuality is encouraged.
In addition we apply various theories on space on our data. Massey´s writings on space (see e.g. Massey, 1991, 1994, 2005, 2009) have inspired us considerably as well as Fraser´s theory on public/private sphere (Fraser, 1990). We also use Foucault´s writings on space (Foucault, 1967/1984), especially his concept of heterotopia along with Rose´s theory on the performativity of space (Rose, 1996, 1999).
The objectives of the paper are theoretical and empirical. We use different theories on space, which all share the epistemological basis of viewing space as a process, a discourse and/or a social construct. We discuss the ways in which they can be utilized when studying the construction of sexuality and gender, using ethnographic data collected in two upper secondary schools in Iceland.
The main focus of this research is on the processes of inclusion and exclusion for LGBT students in different spaces in two Icelandic upper secondary schools. We ask four research questions:
- What kind of spaces include or exclude LGBT-students and how?
- How is sexuality and gender constructed within different spaces?
- How do different spaces create boundaries of difference?
- What are the processes through which LGBT-students can claim a counter-space?
Atkinson, E. og DePalma, R. (2010). The nature of institutional heteronormativity in primary schools and practice-based responses. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 1669–1676. Binnie, J. & Valentine, G. (1999). Geographies of sexualities – a review of progress. Progress in Human Geography, 23 (2), 175-187. Bourdieu, P. (1993). The field of cultural production. New York: Columbia University Press. Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. Chesir-Teran, D. & Hughes, D. (2009). Heterosexism in high school and victimization among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning students. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 38, 963–975. Foucault, M. (1967). Of other spaces. Reprinted in Diacritics 16 (1986), 22-27. Foucault, M. 1971. Orders of Discourse. Transl. by Rupert Swyer. Social Science Information, 10(2), 7–30. Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the public sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text, 25/26, 56-80. Hubbard, P. (2001). Sex zones: Intimacy, citizenship and public space. Sexualities, 4(1), 51-71. Jagose, A. (1996). Queer Theory. Melbourne Melbourne: University Press. Massey, D. (1991). A global sense of place. Marxism Today, 38, 24-29. Massey, D. (1994). Space, place and gender. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Massey, D. (2005 ). For space. London: Sage. Massey, D. (2009). Concepts of space and power in theory and political practice. Documents D'Anàlisi Geogràfica, 55, 15-26. Oswin, N. (2008). Critical geographies and the uses of sexuality: deconstructing queer space. Progress in Human Geography, 32 (1), 89-103. Rose, G. (1996). As if the mirrors had bled: masculine dwelling, masculinist theory and feminist masquerade. In N. Duncan (Ed.), Bodyspace (pp. 56-74). London: Routledge. Rose, G. (1999). Performing space. In D. Massey, J. Allen & P. Sarre (Eds), Human geography today (pp. 247-259). Cambridge: Polity. Pharr, S (1997). Homophobia: A weapon of sexism. Berkeley, California: Chardon Press.
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